When I was about 10, I opened my first savings account. This wasn’t because I cared about the bank or how it worked, but because I was homeschooled and my mom was trying to teach me the value of money. At first I was worried the bank would lose it, or that I wouldn’t be able to use it for something that I wanted, but eventually I got used to the idea of putting money in the bank to hold on to for later.
Learning to Save
Like most kids, I always wanted something. First it was Hot Wheels and candy, but as I grew older, I wanted things that cost me more than a weeks’ worth of chores. This was when I started to learn the value of saving. If I proactively saved, it was much easier for me when I did find something I wanted. When I decided I wanted a Gameboy, or a new skateboard, my mom would make me write it down on a list with the date. Things would slowly accumulate on the list, but I wasn’t allowed to buy anything off of the list until it was at least a month old. This really helped slow down the small number of impulse purchases I would have made with my five-dollar-a-week budget. This also made me appreciate the things I bought much more.
As I grew older (13) and my tastes refined (iPods are very expensive compared to CD Players), I needed to increase my income. This is when I started becoming the neighborhood entrepreneur. I earned money by washing cars, mowing lawns, selling things on ebay, and baking dog treats. Money earned from these activities was always the most satisfying, and it reinforced the satisfaction I got when I did end up making a “big” purchase.
Why it Matters
My mom did a great job at teaching me the value of money when I was a kid, which has helped me make healthy financial decisions. These values have only grown in importance as I have gotten older. I was reminded of all this when I learned about Union Bank’s new Kid-Preneur Lemonade stand contest. If my bank would have done something like this, my mom would have loved it! It is a great opportunity to get kids introduced to the value of money, and simple financial ideas. And who knows? Maybe one of these kids will grow up to start the next big thing to hit Lincoln. It wouldn’t surprise me.